Get Started as a Referee

Referees play a key role enabling competition between athletes by conducting contests in a fair and safe way.

Refereeing is a challenging, rewarding and satisfying volunteer role within British Judo. As well as being an enjoyable part of judo, refereeing helps equip people with life skills such as confidence and decisiveness, these attributes help referees in many other aspects of their life.

Whether you want to support local club competitions, referee area competitions or take charge of a British Championships final, there are refereeing roles to suit you. If you really have what it takes, there are also opportunities to referee internationally.

What does Refereeing involve?

The referee structure is made up of 8 levels, starting at club level, progressing through to international level. As a referee builds their skills and experience, they have the opportunity to advance through these levels and attend larger, tougher and more prestigious events.

Referee duties include:

As referee

  • Ensuring contests are conducted correctly and safely, following our approved contest rules, and ultimately that the correct winner leaves the mat
  • Managing the flow of the contest, starting and stopping the contest and giving scores and penalties as required, supported the judges
  • Ensuring the scoreboard is correct
  • Explaining the reason for refereeing decisions made

As a judge

  • Judges are responsible for assisting the referee and correcting any refereeing errors
  • Judges may use the CARE system technology to help make decisions in difficult scenarios, where available or by collaborating with the referee in charge
  • The referee and judges are responsible for Ensuring the scoreboard is correct

As referee in charge

  • Overall responsibility for all refereeing matters in the run up to and during an event
  • Agreeing the list of referees called to an event
  • Deciding the refereeing teams and mat allocations
  • Giving the referees and coaches briefings
  • Managing refereeing decision appeals or complaints
  • Communication with other competition officials and event staff

How can I get involved in Refereeing?

It’s simple, so long as you are at least green belt and 12 years old, you can take your first steps toward becoming a referee – the first step is to attend a refereeing course where you will be told everything you need to know and take a theory paper to check your understanding.

You are best advised to consult your area refereeing representative or club coach to identify the best course for you.

After the course and theory paper, your area representative will work with you to arrange a practical assessment to confirm you are competent and safe to start refereeing at British Judo events. It is recommended to practice either in your club or at some entry level events as a trainee before the assessment, this isn’t compulsory. Once passed, you are officially a British Judo referee and can begin refereeing at official events applicable to your level.

Who does the role suit?

Refereeing is a suitable option for a wide range of people and is an interesting and rewarding way to be involved in competition, staying up close in the sport they love.

The refereeing commission welcome young referees and those who’ve been in the sport a long time. The basics of refereeing are easy to understand and apply, our courses cover all the essentials you need to know. There is also a fast-track option for highly experienced athletes and coaches.

To progress further, refereeing is well suited to those who can:

• Work well as a team
• Stay focussed for long periods of time
• Make quick and accurate decisions
• Remain calm, confident and composed
• Keep themselves up to date on the rules and developments
• Clearly explain the reasons for decisions

You can find listings of BJA Level 1 Refereeing Courses on our Events Calendar